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sayings, herbs, teas, folk remedies, H. Wayne Gruber, gardens, witchcraft, rhymes


A handwritten letter from Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Rothenberger addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated February 1, 1949. Within, the Rothenbergers detail a number of old sayings and rhymes associated with different herbs and teas, along with some of their uses in folk remedies.


Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Rothenberger


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 19-25 to 19-28


Gibraltar, Pennsylvania


Gibraltar, Pa.

Feb 1. - 49

Dr. Shoemaker, Dear Sir

Your friend Wayne Gruber interested us very much with his list of things which were in many of the old gardens. Quite a few of these were in my grandmother’s garden and many more I am familiar with, quite a few herbs and roots and I rather think it is quite a pity that so few people don’t know what one is talking about when these things are mentioned.

We too have roamed the hills and fields since very small and are familiar with quite a few and know the right spots where they are found. This usually makes a jaunt over the hills interesting.

Many of these herbs and teas are still widely used among the older folks.

Some of these also have humorous sayings and rhymes, of which I shall endeavor to give you a few. Here are a few of the herbs and teas.

Fancy tea

thyme tea as a seasoning

hoarhound tea for colds

catnip tea for colds and babies

bergamot tea also a lovely flower.

sage tea for colds.

rue tea for stomach.

boneset tea for colds.

spearmint tea

fennel tea

Anise tea

rosemary tea


elecampane tea

sanicle tea

valerian tea


Betony tea.

Coriander seeds for flavoring.

Chives used for flavoring

house leek





Old Sayings

Where rosemary flourishes the woman rules.

Noble is rue, it makes the sight of eyes sharp and clear. With help of rue, you shall see far and near.

Sympathy without relief is like mustard without beef.

Trefoil, vervain, and dill hinder witches at their will

Old Sayings Continued

He that would live for aye must eat sage in May.

Sage helps the nerves and by its might.
Palsy is cured and fever put to flight.

Cut your thistles before St. John
Or you’ll have two instead of one.

Sincerely hope these may be of interest to you.

The Rothenbergers



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Letter From Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Rothenberger to Alfred L. Shoemaker, February 1, 1949



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